My family is my “why.” I justify almost everything I do in terms of how it benefits my family and/or gives me more time with them. I define “more time with my family” as a benefit to them and me, and I want to maximize that time, but have to balance my time – my most precious resource – between enjoying family time and activities that allow for family time, and that’s never easy.
Scheduling Fatherhood and Entrepreneurship
With the day job, it’s easy. I leave home around 7:40 and get back by 6:15. That time is blocked off, so there is no sense of conflict over the time, at least in my head. I believe that working overtime (*for someone else) is the root of all evil, or at least the root of nearly all of Japan’s social problems. Yes, seriously. And besides, if they’re paying me extra, that means it’s optional. That means I’m opting to spend time away from my family. No thank you- you can’t pay me enough for that to be worthwhile.
Making Time for Entrepreneurship
Unlike overtime at the university, I do believe in putting my time toward making a better life for my family. Since I resolved to build an online business to supplement (and ideally supplant) my day job income, I have made the time. As much as possible, I’ve done it without taking any time away from my family and without impacting my sleep too much.
I’ve given up the jRPGs I love so dearly (and surprisingly don’t miss at all, now that I think of it). I spend less time watching TV, unless it’s winding down with Sawa at the end of a hard day. I’ve changed my reading habits from all fiction to introducing a mixture of blogs and ebooks about business and entrepreneurship (which I find just as exciting and engaging). I have also changed my podcast listening habits from all writing advice to all entrepreneurship and life advice. In addition to the Smart Passive Income podcast that I’ve referenced on here a few times, I’ve started listening to Michael Hyatt’s “This is Your Life,” which is good for entrepreneurship, leadership in the day job, family, and maintaining a balanced life. I get about an hour per work day on my commute to soak in advice and think about how I’m going to apply that to my life, which is an awesome time capture.
Giving up the RPGs and other unproductive hobbies and shifting time away from fiction writing (from a 1200 word/day quota down to 300), which had become more of a drag than a hobby lately, has given me about an hour to two per day to put toward my projects that that I was otherwise not using efficiently. Time like the early morning, when I’m the only one awake, or late night – time that was “mine” before without taking it away from my family – that goes toward working on my web business project.
Most importantly, I’m still there for my family during the day (except that block when I have to go to the day job). Sawa might tell you differently, but I finish every day satisfied that I have been a good father and husband to the best of my ability.
Making the Most of Available Time
It might sound counter-intuitive, but one of the ways I’ve increased the effectiveness of my time use is to add journaling and a daily exercise routine to my morning, which now goes something like this:
- Wake up no later than 5:10
- Put away dishes whilst boiling water
- Make a pour-over pot of coffee
- Journal for five minutes
- Write at least 300 fiction words
- Exercise routine
- Write at least 200 words of business content
- Other business development research/implementation, or more words
Productivity Hacks: Journaling and Exercise
I’ll write more in detail about these some other time, but I’ve found that starting my morning writing with journaling helps to clear my head so I can write on the task at hand. Mixing in a short exercise routine between fiction and non-fiction writing gives me a clear break in the process and gets my blood pumping so I’m excited to dive into the website production.
I can’t be bothered to measure the results precisely, but while I used to struggle to get my words for both categories done by 7 am, when the rest of the family usually starts to get up and we all have breakfast, now I find that I have hit my minimums at by closer to 6-6:15, and then I keep going.
How do you do it?
I’m interested in hearing from anyone out there how you balance entrepreneurship and/or writing with family and a day job. Any productivity hacks to share? Have you tried the ones I listed above?
Let me know how your process is going!